Monday, 31 January 2011

Who's time is it anyway?

Right - I have a fantastic entry ready to write about cross country yesterday, complete with full colour photos and 3D technology (ok maybe not the last bit) but due to a laptop malfunction (aka I broke my laptop) I can only do a short update - so I thought this was the perfect time to launch my 'Who's time is it anyway?' competition!

Who's time is it anyway?

Guess the time to the nearest minute that you think I will complete the London marathon in and if you're right (or closest) you could win a food hamper worth £30 (or £30 of vouchers depending on your location/preference). There's also a 'runner up' prize available and each guess costs just £2!

Rules below:

1. Click the 'What's my time grid' tab at the top of this page
2. Choose an available time that you think I will finish the race in. Multiple entries are allowed (you can also choose 'DNF' if you like)
3. Let me know which time (or times) you would like and donate a minimum of £2 per entry via my website below (Please leave your full name!) or give me the money in person. I will then allocate the time to you.
4. Sit back whilst I run the 26.2 miles. After the race I will contact the lucky winner to arrange the prize.

Hints: The London Marathon record is 2hr 5min (from 2002). Average times which inc. people in fancy dress etc are:
Men: 4 hr 20min
Women: 4hr 45 min
At my most recent cross country race I ran 5 1/2 miles in 42 min 47 sec.

Good Luck!

Proper blog update due tonight!

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Rise and Fall of Biscuit Nikki

Greetings biscuit fans!

What a busy couple of days! Oh and also cold. Very very very cold. There's not enough layers in the world sometimes to stop the chill. After a few discussions with other club members I think I might need a balaclava. It could keep my face and ears warm, which seem to be my coldest bits and hide my identity when I rob biscuit and cake shops. I jest of course - I have a good hat to keep my ears warm.

So despite the Arctic conditions it's amazing I have done any training at all. Good track session Friday night where I got warm enough to remove my second outer jacket and a nice long run today. Special thumbs up to Steve for attempting to moon us all Friday night whilst halfway round the track and discovering his boxers were (luckily) tied up too tight. Good effort mate - your running whilst pulling down trousers co-ordination was exemplary.

And we move onto today. After a late night in Reading the alarm felt like a sledge hammer this morning when it went off at 8am. Yes 8am exists on a Saturday and I can tell you that it's very cold.

I have yet to discover exactly what it is that gets me up on these tired, cold and grey mornings. I suspect it's a combination of determination, dedication to the completing the marathon and the thought that you lot are following my every training move. So thanks for keeping an eye on me!

Today was an easy run - 14 miles felt like it was going to be a breeze in comparison to the recent 19 and to be honest it should have been. However at mile 10 I spectacularly stacked it, throwing my drink bottle across the floor (waste of lucozade) and rolling in copious amounts of mud. With the help of Paul, who was luckily running near me, I was able to get myself back on my feet and walk the pain off before continuing the run. Am very proud to say I managed the final 4 miles at a faster pace than the first 10 and completed the full 14 in a  respectable time given the circumstances. I have a picture of the damage somewhere to upload later.

After an hour or two of sitting down the damage is catching up with me a bit and I have two sore knees, a very bruised upper thigh and a good elbow graze (almost a full set), am feeling a little delicate but am I beaten? Hell no. I didn't seriously sprain anything and I got the chance to walk around Sainsbury's buying biscuits looking like some kind of muddy Rambo. I said it was important to train for all eventualities and falling over is one of them. No DNF (Did Not Finish) for me today!

Nikki: 1 Vs Random Lumps in the ground: 0

Please keep the sponsorships and donations coming - you're all helping me get out of bed to run in the mornings and pick myself up from the mud after the falls. Pat on the back all round - you're all doing a really good job!

Keep Running (and staying upright!)

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Soggy bra - yes you read that correctly

Bit of a late update today - meant to do this last night but was rather tired from a day hopping on and off trains (for work - I don't just spend my time running away from ticket inspectors). So hopefully this will bring a bit of sunshine to your working day if you're reading this in your office (at lunchtime of course!).

Controversially I am going to start with a fundraising update! I have been bowled over by everyone's generosity this week and the people who have been donating!

Firstly there's competition for the most unique donation amount from Claire with £42.42 and then Laura whose finger got stuck on the '1' button with her £11.11. I have no idea what the prize is for this but it will probably be in biscuit form (unless it's Laura and then it'll be Justin Bieber related). Thanks to both of you - you are amazing friends who I really don't see often enough and for that I am really sorry. Claire, seems I can run as far away as I like (as long as it's around the 20 mile marker) but am still a Kent girl at heart!

A huge thanks to Vlado and Mirza, your faith in me to do well is inspiring and I promise I'll give it my best shot on the big race day! Thanks for all of your support!

So by now you're desperate to know why I've titled this blog 'soggy bra' - read on....

After circuits on Monday night I ran an 'easy' 5 miles on Tuesday (it wasn't easy, I just mean I didn't try to run very fast) and that was pretty uneventful. It just gave me time to think about a blog I plan to write about motivation (or the lack of it on some days). So that takes us up to last night - Wednesday.

Wednesday is always my club run that tends to be the 'hang on going as fast as you can' run. Due to a slight miscalculation in washing machine times I was left with an emergency running bra choice and had to just grab one that was still on my drying rack. Another lesson learned! After a rather uncomfortable start (middle and finish) I will not attempt to run the marathon with damp clothing, rain permitting of course. I also strongly advise that you don't either. Please don't try this at home - I'm a trained (sort of) professional and do these things so that you don't have to. I'm sorry I don't have a photo to accompany this update.

After last weeks navigational issues I was officially off the list for group leading but this allowed me to sit back and enjoy the 8.5 miles that ensued. Including the jog back home I had a good 9 mile run and was left feeling awake, rejuvenated and slightly damp.

So as I enjoy my cup of tea at work and my chocolate coated biscuit I'm feeling a lot dryer and more positive about the training to come. This weekend could be interesting as the Frome-ites are coming to Reading and we're all going out. Could end up being my first long training run whilst hungover and/or still drunk.

It's important to train for every eventuality....

Keep running!
Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Monday, 24 January 2011

There's no I in Team America...

Whooooo!!! Well Done everyone in Sandhurst Joggers! Another win under our belts and it really does take everyone's help and team spirit .

Once again there was an amazing turn out and I didn't hear one person grumble about having to 'give up' their Sunday morning. Probably because cross country is just so much fun - any non-runners out there wondering why we'd want to get up early on a Sunday morning and throw ourselves round wet and often (very) boggy fields will just have to come along and have a go, because you really can't explain it. (Although all the yummy cakes and sandwiches at the end go quite a long way to a good explanation)!

I love cross country because everyone is important - whilst only the top runners 'score' points for the club it's up to everyone else to try and finish ahead of other teams scorers - resulting in them scoring less (are you still with me? Well don't worry the even more basic idea is to run as well as you can, enjoy yourself and remember to cheer for everyone else).

We're also the only club where our fastest runners will turn around straight away and run *back* up the course to cheer everybody else on. Oh and we all get to go to the pub after and replace the calories that were run off and haven't  already been replaced by the aforementioned cakes.

So I am basically dedicating this entire post to Sandhurst Joggers and our well earned win at the weekend. I am proud to be throwing myself around wet and boggy fields on early Sunday mornings whilst wearing that red vest and knowing you're all running the course with me (cue the sickly naff music)

Wow so onto fundraising! Huge thank you to Malcolm and Denise, I am very touched that you have sponsored me when I haven't seen you both for so long!  Dunja it's great to hear from you now you're living in 'the big smoke' and if you feel like passing me sports drinks from your window as I go racing round London it will be very much appreciated! Thanks for your donation hun! Lastly for this blog is Lisa, thank you so much for your support! I'll see if I can convince someone to put 'Go Nikki Go Nikki Go!' on a poster for the day - sounds like a good theme tune! You're all superstars and I can't convey my thanks enough!

And last but not least - biscuit news! Today I have mostly been replacing biscuits with scones that Helen in my office brought in. Not really part of an 'athlete's diet' but neither are biscuits so I don't care.

Keep Running!

Biscuit Nikki

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Milk and more

Wow - what a busy couple of days! Quite a lot to catch up on.

So when did I last update? Tuesday...hmm. So Wednesday was the club quick run. Usually around 8-9 miles and the general idea is to try and hang on to the back of a faster group for as long as you can. Given the high mileage I have been doing (like a second hand car!) I thought I'd run this one a little slower than normal and just have a good chat with my friend Ian.

Unfortunately Ian was counting on me to guide us round the route, as I've done that particular path many times before (and should therefore have known what I was doing!) Well I have never been a great navigator and this run just established further how important it is that I don't get into orienteering running - I got us rather lost and we had to embarrassingly ask for directions! A few minutes later we were back on track but also at the back of the pack, turned out ok as we picked up a few stragglers who were also having route issues and trailing along at the back. Ian and I took group leader roles and guided everyone back to the start - albeit a little later than planned and a mile or two extra better off! - Lesson 1: Don't let me lead the way - ever.

Thursday was a glorious rest day where I spent the whole time feeling guilty for not running. Lesson 2: No rest for the wicked!

Friday always means one thing - whilst lots of girls are straightening their hair and applying lip gloss ready for a night out in town, the dedicated Sandhurst Joggers girls (and guys) are running circles around the race track. Speed session! Due to the exceptionally cold weather the track had started to frost over in places, making it really slippy. So we did 2 lots of 5 x 400m (5 times around the track) putting in over 80% effort on the straights and recovering on the bends (this was mainly due to the slippery surfaces in theses areas). It was cold but I had come prepared with many layers. Lesson 3: Never underestimate the value of two pairs of gloves (or wearing them both at the same time).

Saturday! Finally another long run - and the best long run training session I have had so far! What a difference compared to last weeks awful attempt (mind you anything would have been better than that!). I ran 19 miles with every mile being bang on my intended pace markers. Was hugely excited when we finished as I actually felt like I had a bit more 'go' in me and could have carried on if I'd had too. Was helped along by Paul and his supply of Jelly babies and had some good advice from James at the end about checking out potential paces and finish times on the lucozade website. Everyone seemed to do well (Sarah your supply of energy beans must have worked!) and we're all looking forward to an easier (shorter) run next week. Lesson 4: Don't allow yourself to be beaten or demotivated by a bad training session. You have to have the rubbish ones to appreciate the good ones!

So now I am back home and have discovered the beauty behind milkshakes as recovery drinks. Good old strawberry Nesquik powder and a load of milk. Definitely felt 'normal' a bit quicker than usual. Lesson 5: That Nesquik rabbit knows what he's talking about (other brands of milkshake powder with just as trustworthy brand icons are available from your local retailers)

On the fundraising side of things I'd like to put out a special thanks to Mel and Jonno - you guys are amazing. Thanks for your support!
Efforts are continuing and at the start of next month I'm planning some exciting stuff on the fundraising side (exciting compared to a 20 mile run).

So for now sports fans I am going to enjoy my tea and biscuit and start preparing myself for the club cross country races tomorrow. Also contemplating putting strawberry Nesquik milk in my could work.

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tea, biscuits, trashy T.V. and less than 90 days on the clock!

It's now less than 90 days until the big event!

Training is still going well, no running update yesterday as I was on a cross training day. I did an hour session of circuits and woke up this morning with achy abs - which made a nice change to the achy legs!

Went out this evening in the beautiful setting sun and did an easy 5 miles. Really noticed how cold it had got! I also had a cheeky race against another runner going up one of the many hills on my route. Probably a bit unfair as I didn't tell him we were racing...

Hoping to launch my 'guess my time' competition at the end of this week - if anyone can think of a more catchy name I'll appreciate it. The idea is simple - guess the time you think I'll complete the race in and the closet time wins a prize. The beauty is that I don't even know how it's going to go, so it'll be interesting to see everyone's predictions!

No more fundraising news today :-( but I'm extremely pleased with the target we have reached so far. It's so motivating to get me out day after day pounding the pavements for such a good cause.

Oh and if you want to read a proper runner's blog check out Pete Grist's (In my followers) - the man is a running machine!

Anyway I'm off for a cup of tea, a biscuit and to settle down and watch 'My big fat gypsy wedding' - you know it makes sense!

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Sunday, 16 January 2011

18 and one for luck...

Phew - well I can honestly say today was the hardest training run I have had since I started before Christmas. Every now and then you get a run where for whatever reason it doesn't quite pull together and you're constantly playing catch-up from the start.

I optimistically pitched myself in with the super trooper fast guys today in the hope that it would make me work harder. Hmm wish granted I suspect. I was lagging behind (rather substantially towards the end) whilst the rest of the group ploughed on with admirable pace and endurance. I am eternally grateful to Alan K for dropping back to keep me going (and stop me sneaking off home when we ran virtually past our house).

The plan was to run 18 miles - which was a challenge in itself. However due to a *slight* miscalculation and Alan's 'cross country' route we went a little bit off course, arriving back at the start having run a solid 19 miles. Whoops!

Well on the bright side I am now just 1 mile off my maximum training distance (20 miles) before the big event and it's the first time I've finished a training run with Sarah H kindly commenting that I looked about to collapse (or something to that extent - I can't really remember because I was too busy trying to remain upright).

Needless to say I rewarded myself with a huge cake - which was practically the same as half a pack of biscuits, and my faith in running was restored. Someone should conduct a study into the close relationship between running and biscuits (this may only apply to me).

So just when I was feeling a little deflated about my poor performance I come home to the best fundraising news - my total raised so far has reached £150.81p. I might have to create a prize for the most unique donation amount, currently going to Phil M. who gave £20 and ended his donation with '78p'! You're all fantastic and a personal note to Aiji - both your huge generosity and inspiring words have renewed my determination to smash this distance. Bring on next weeks long run!

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Saturday, 15 January 2011

A bit of running, a lack of biscuits and a lot of amazing friends

Just back from a 6 mile tempo run (for non-runners that's a run including a warm up and warm down where you run at a challenging but manageable pace) - I'll probably get a load of runners disagreeing with me now. Anyhow that's my idea of a tempo run.

Went well, I'd like to report on all the interesting things I saw on the way round but to be honest it was a pretty dull 'pavement' run. Not a great deal going on round sleepy Sandhurst on a Saturday late afternoon. I'm not going to say how long it took me as I'm planning to launch a new competition in the next couple of weeks - keep your eyes peeled for details soon!

More exciting news on the fundraising front! The page has been 'live' for two days and I've already raised £80 (and 3 pence!). A huge huge thank you to Alex, Chewy, Ga and Ian for your donations so far. Your messages are all lovely and I'm touched that you were all willing to donate so much. I need some kind of 'hall of fame' for you all!

Long run tomorrow - going to try for 18 miles. Let's hope it's not raining!

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Start

Well I have decided to start this blog to keep everyone updated on my marathon journey including the highs and lows of training and my attempts to raise lots of money for Brain Tumour UK.

If you don't know about Brain Tumour UK they're the UK leading caring charity who help raise awareness, support all those affect by brain tumours and conduct vital research into finding better treatments, care and hopefully an eventual cure.

Being diagnosed with a brain tumour can be extremely traumatic for the patient and all their friends and family. It can turn someone's life upside down in an instant and having support from a charity like Brain Tumour UK can make a reallly meaningful difference in helping to cope with everyday life. It's because of this that I want to help in everyway I can and raise a good amount of money to allow the charity to carry on.

So the challenge? 26.2 miles of London streets in whatever weather conditions the UK wants to throw at me on that day. I started training before Christmas and have already had several training runs through the snow! Dedication is not a problem when I think of the good cause I am helping.

So feel free to ask me anything - running related or otherwise and if you have any good fund raising tips or ideas then let me know!

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x
Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to: